10 Things Autistic People Want Their Therapists to Know

5. “I need continuity.”

“If I get asked something like ‘how was your week?’ every time I come to therapy then every session becomes an isolated discussion about temporary problems; it’s like there’s a reset button at the beginning of every session and I can’t work on anything long-term. I need any process broken down into steps I can manage. For instance: ‘develop a routine for household chores’ is not a manageable step, but ‘start a list of household chores and bring it to next session’ is. I hate being asked variations of ‘how do you think you could do X?’ Because if I knew how to do it, I wouldn’t be talking about it in therapy.” —Reddit user queersparrow

Photo: Adobe Stock/Elnur
Photo: Adobe Stock/Elnur

4. “It can be really hard to name emotions or put them on a scale as an autistic person”

“…even if you are an adult. It always made me uncomfortable when they’d ask something like, ‘How stressed out do you feel, on a scale of 1 to 10?’ I have no idea how to answer! I can give answers like ‘a little bit’ or ‘moderately,’ but not assign a number to my feeling, because I don’t know what a 6 is compared to a 5 or a 7 or any of the other numbers.” —Reddit user cakeisatruth

3. “OK, for working with children…”

“Sending a kid out of the room so that you can talk about them is just a terrible idea in general. It’s pretty much inevitably going to lead to some (frankly pretty well justified) feelings of paranoia, and sitting in a waiting room while people talk about you, explicitly discussing things about you that they aren’t willing to discuss in front of you, is one of the more stressful things I can think of.” —Reddit user bluesam3

2. “A large variety of stim toys placed near where your client might sit is appreciated.”

“I’m often concerned about accidentally touching a decoration I think is a stim toy, but if it’s on a table next to my seat I feel comfortable playing with it. I also like the opportunity to use stim toys I’ve never tried before. And, of course, they make me feel better since I’m usually pretty dismayed to be out of the house and talking with an unfamiliar person.” —Reddit user spacehippies

Photo: Adobe Stock/neirfy
Photo: Adobe Stock/neirfy

1. “My 16-year-old daughter has ASD and is recovering from an eating disorder…”

“Her main complaints are that the appointments are too long, too much small talk that she doesn’t see the point of, too many words in general, and she hates feeling like a lab rat or treated as if there is something wrong with her. She appreciates clear and direct communication, honesty, being treated like an equal, someone listening to her without interrupting, and short sessions!” —Reddit user morganah

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